How to Memorize the PMP Process Chart in the PMBOK Guide

The PMP Process Chart is the backbone of the PMBOK guide. Each chapter of the PMBOK expands on each row or Knowledge Area in the Process Chart. Thus, it is essential that you have this chart memorized before your exam.

One of my top tips for taking the exam is to draw out the Process Chart using the 15 minutes you have before your exam starts. This way, you can reference the chart whenever you need to during your exam.

Here’s an article on how to draw out your cheat sheet before your PMP exam.

In this article, I will cover how to can memorize and draw the PMP Process Chart in under 3 minutes.

Step 1: Draw a 6×11 chart

First, using a legal sized paper, you want draw a table with 6 columns and 11 rows.

You may be wondering, why can’t I just practice drawing this on excel?

The answer is that you won’t have access to excel during your PMP exam, so you want to get familiar with using pen and paper. By drawing it on paper you can control how big or small your fonts can be.

Step 2: Write out your Process Groups and Knowledge Areas

Along the top row, you want to write out your 5 Process Groups, which are Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing.

A quick way to memorize this is by using the rhyme “In Physical Education Mary Cries Constantly.” The first letters of this phrase matches with the first letters of the 5 Process Groups.

Next, you want to write the 10 knowledge areas down the first column. The 10 knowledge areas are:

Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communications, Risk, Procurement, Stakeholders

Here’s a rhyme to help you remember the 10 Knowledge Areas faster:

I Surely Thought Carol Quit Helping Cats Razz Parent Squirrels

Here’s 6 other rhymes to help you memorize the 10 Knowledge Areas (just in case you didn’t like the one above).

At this point, your chart should look like this:

pmp process chart WIP

Step 3: Fill in the corners

Next, you want to fill in the 4 processes in each corner of the process chart. These 4 processes are:

  • Develop Project Charter
  • Identify Stakeholders
  • Close Project or Phase
  • Close Procurements

Here’s what your chart should look like now:

PMP process chart WIP2

Step 4: Fill in your “Plan” processes

There are 10 processes that begins with the word “Plan,” and they all fall in the Planning Process Group. Fill them into your process chart now.

  • Plan Scope Management (from Scope Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Schedule Management (from Time Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Cost Management (from Cost Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Quality Management (from Quality Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Human Resource Management (from Human Resource Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Communication Management (from Communication Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Risk Management (from Risk Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Risk Responses (from Risk Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Procurement (from Procurement Management Knowledge Area)
  • Plan Stakeholder Management (from Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area)

Here’s what your chart should look like now:

pmp process chart wip3

Step 5: Fill in your “Estimate” processes

Similar to what you did in step 4, fill in the “Estimate” processes into the Planning Process Group. For example, Estimate Activity Resources is filled in in the intersection between Planning Process Group and Time Management Knowledge Area.

  • Estimate Activity Resources (from Time Management Knowledge Area)
  • Estimate Activity Duration (from Time Management Knowledge Area)
  • Estimate Costs (from Cost Management Knowledge Area)

Step 6: Fill in your “Perform” processes

Next, fill in the 4 processes that begins with the word “Perform.” Unfortunately, they do not all fall within the same process group.  

  • Perform Integrated Change Control (from Integration Management Knowledge Area)
  • Perform Quality Assurance (from Quality Management Knowledge Area)
  • Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis (from Risk Management Knowledge Area)
  • Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis (from Risk Management Knowledge Area)

Step 7: Fill in your “Develop” processes

Fill in the 5 “Develop” processes now.

  • Develop Project Charter (from Integration Management Knowledge Area)
  • Develop Project Management Plan (from Integration Management Knowledge Area)
  • Develop Schedule (from Time Management Knowledge Area)
  • Develop Project Team (from Human Resource Management Knowledge Area)

Step 8: Fill in your “Control” processes

There are 10 processes on the Process Chart that begins with the word “Control.” As its name would suggest, all of these processes fall within the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group. Fill these in now.

  • Monitor & Control Project Work (from Integration Management Knowledge Area)
  • Perform Integrated Change Control (from Integration Management Knowledge Area)
  • Control Scope (from Scope Management Knowledge Area)
  • Control Schedule (from Time Management Knowledge Area)
  • Control Costs (from Cost Management Knowledge Area)
  • Control Quality (from Quality Management Knowledge Area)
  • Control Communications (from Communications Management Knowledge Area)
  • Control Risks (from Risk Management Knowledge Area)
  • Control Procurements (from Procurement Management Knowledge Area)
  • Control Stakeholder Engagement (from Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area)

Step 9: Fill in the “Manage” processes

There are 3 processes that begin with the word “Manage” and they all fall under the Executing Process Group.

  • Manage Project Team ((from HR Management Knowledge Area)
  • Manage Communications (from Communications Management Knowledge Area)
  • Manage Stakeholder Engagement (from Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area)

Step 9: Fill in the remaining processes

Unfortunately, the other processes in the PMBOK does not start with a keyword or follow any particular pattern. With practice, though, you will have them memorized.

Here’s the remaining processes left that still needs to be filled into your process chart:

  • Validate Scope (from Scope Management Knowledge Area)
  • Collect Requirements (from Scope Management Knowledge Area)
  • Define Scope (from Scope Management Knowledge Area)
  • Create WBS (from Scope Management Knowledge Area)
  • Define Activities (from Time Management Knowledge Area)
  • Sequence Activities (from Time Management Knowledge Area)
  • Determine Budget (from Cost Management Knowledge Area)
  • Acquire Project Team (from Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area)
  • Conduct Procurements (from Procurement Management Knowledge Area)

Takeaways

  1. Remember rhymes for the Process Groups and Knowledge Areas
  2. Remember key words that most of the processes start with: Plan (10), Estimate (3), Perform (6), Develop (4), Manage (3), and Control (10)
  3. Practice drawing this chart daily before your PMP exam

And viola! Your PMP process is complete. Here is what it should look like:

pmp process chart

If you are an audio learner and want a free video explanation of how to memorize and draw the Process Chart. Here’s a video made by Richard Kraneis explaining how to draw the PMP Process Chart:

How do I read and understand the PMP Process Chart?

Glad you asked. In our daily lives, we are used to reading things from left to right, but when it comes to the PMP Process Chart, you need to read it up and down for it to make sense. In other words, you read all of the processes in the Initiating Process Group from top to bottom, then you read all the processes from the Planning Process Group from top to bottom, and so forth. Once you realize this trick, studying for the PMP exam will become easier.

If you are still confused, watch this video: